A three-part intervention method for working with antisocial or behavior disordered adolescents. The approach includes training in moral judgment, anger management/correction of thinking errors, and prosocial skills. Youth involved in the EQUIP training program participate in two types of group sessions – Equipment Meetings (in which the leader teaches specific skills) and Mutual Help Meetings (in which the leader coaches students as they use the skills they’ve learned to help each other). The EQUIP program received the 1998 Reclaiming Children and Youth Spotlight on Excellence Award. In addition to being widely used in the U.S., EQUIP has been adapted for use in Canada, the Netherlands, and several other countries.
In an evaluation of the program, 57 boys between the ages of 15 and 18 who were recently committed to a juvenile corrections facility were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) The experimental EQUIP treatment group, 2) the motivational control group, or 3) the simple control group. Results indicated that participants in the EQUIP group experienced significant decreases in self- and staff-reported institutional misconduct as well as gains in social skills, whereas participants in either control group did not. There were no differences between groups in regards to changes in moral judgment.
Leeman, L.W., Gibbs, J.C., & Fuller, D. (1993). Evaluation of a multi-component group treatment program for juvenile delinquents. Aggressive Behavior, 19, 281-292.
Since its introduction in the early 1990s, the EQUIP Program has been adapted and implemented at various facilities and institutions in North America, Europe, and Australia. The institutions include juvenile correctional facilities, community-based adult correctional facilities, halfway houses, re-entry programs, and middle schools. The young persons served have ranged in age from preadolescence through adulthood.
One example is the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Red Wing, which provides treatment, education, and transition services for chronic male juvenile offenders. After implementing and adapting EQUIP, Red Wing saw its recidivism rate drop by better than half (from 53% to 21%; see Gibbs, Potter, DiBiase and Devlin, in press).
“For the first time, ‘what we know’ and ‘what we know works’ have been distilled into a highly readable, scientifically proven intervention program for antisocial youth.”
—Laurie Rice, Journal for Juvenile Justice and Detention Services
“The EQUIP Program is a must read. . . Gibbs and colleagues provide the reader with a succinct but clear conceptual understanding of the causes of antisocial behavior, cognitive treatment strategies, and methods to empirically validate the effectiveness of interventions.”
—John Lemmon, Juvenile Justice Update
“The beauty of this book is its organization and practicality. . . The EQUIP Program is realistic and would be beneficial for teachers, principals, counselors, social workers, psychologists, and those interested in making a positive impact on youth.”
—Carol A. Yeager, The Peer Facilitator Quarterly